All good things must come to an end.
Beth and I have finished our walks through Ireland. With the Kerry Way, Dingle Way and more than half of the Wicklow Way, we calculated that we did over 275 miles. That doesn’t begin to compare with 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail or over 1,000 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea across North Carolina.
Still, it was a great way to see a part of Ireland. Instead of renting a car or getting on a bus and visiting many places for a short time, we chose to concentrate on walking and understanding a small section well.
But if truth be told, that’s not how we made our plans. We decided on walking in Europe and then learned about the marvelous trails in Ireland.
As I’ve commented before, there isn’t much wilderness in Western Europe. Every corner has been lived in, farmed, tilled, and grazed. When you see sheep or horses, you know that the land is privately owned. People live and work in their national parks, though with many restrictions, I’m sure. So you can walk and walk and plan to have a bed, shower and meal, if you want that.
But the walking feels wild, even with sheep bleeting on the path. We had to figure out gates, stiles and sometimes confusing instructions and signs. We met few hikers on the trail and stopped and said hello to everyone we met. This kind of vacations allowed me to talk to locals in the shops, pubs and at our B&B. The people here really appreciate visitors and want to tell us about their country. Since there were few Americans on the trail, locals were intrigued about us and our walks.
Ireland Walk, Hike, Bike (www.southwestwalksireland) had organized our lodging and transported our bags from B&B to B&B. They were very good at helping us tweak our plans when we made it clear that we were hikers and not just on a walking holiday. So a big thank you to Linda Woods and her staff.
But my trip is not quite over. Stick around.